Xiahou Dun posted:
I bought a penny-whistle in D for 3 bucks today from a pawnshop on my way home today.
Another one bites the dust...
Not a half-step each, but each finger removed (and left up) is a note up the diatonic scale. So yeah, on a D whistle what you show is a Dmaj scale. And yes, you "overblow" to get to the next octave.
Not to be pedantic, but on ASCII flute tab usually the top of the flute is on the left side, so opposite what you have, but I still get what you mean.
Can you tell what make of 'whistle and what key? Pics?
|# ¿ Jul 14, 2011 23:59|
|# ¿ Mar 12, 2014 20:27|
The dulcimer is a great conversation starter with strangers, FYI.
Pick up chicks with your dulcimer on the Metro on your way home?
Thanks for all the help tap, I'm watching Dulcimerica and feeling like I'll never learn this thing. But it's definitely fun!
Dulcimer is really, really easy. Way easier the ukulele. The more advanced stuff on Dulcimerica is just FYI for now, but there's plenty of easier stuff there. I'd do mainly drone tunes at least the first couple weeks. Amazing Grace is a popular tune to learn in DAA, starts out 0-3-5-3-5-4-3-1-0
Edit: If I want to mess around with DAD, can I just tune the top string on my DAA tuned dulcimer, or does it need special strings? Don't want to break a string already.
Depends on your dulcimer's scale length and brand of strings, but generally, yes, you can hit DAD on most dulcimers. Most dulcimers I have can go as high as DAD and as low as GAD, but any lower than that and I have to start raising my drones to compensate because I really can't drop the chanters much lower.
I think most dulcimer strings are "Mixolydian" sets, made with the intent that you can go as high as DAD Mixolydian tuning. Usually around gauges 12-14-22. There are Ionian sets as well (Ionian is DAA tuning) which I suspect are made with the assumption that you tune Ionian and lower, so probably gauges 14-14-22.
So far as the names for all these tunings and their different characteristics, check out the In Search of the Wild Dulcimer book, and it makes things a lot clearer. And I definitely suggest you sign up for the Everything Dulcimer forum.
Post your dulcimer (and 'whistle, and stylophone) pics when you get them.
TapTheForwardAssist fucked around with this message at Jul 15, 2011 around 03:15
|# ¿ Jul 15, 2011 02:56|
I actually did, not even kidding.
Did you use your mack skills to convince her to play dulcimer?
|# ¿ Jul 15, 2011 03:10|
radium's grandmother posted:
I bought a beautiful dulcimer off of craigslist for $40:
Okay, so is what you're saying is when your fingers are just a bit on the head-side of the fret, it sounds nice and clean, but when they're a few more centimetres towards the head, away from the fret, it sounds muffled? If that's what you mean, then yes, that's because when you push down too far away from the fret, your string doesn't cross the fret at a sharp enough angle and thus does not cut the note off cleanly. You don't need to be right up against the fret, but you do need to be within a few centimetres of the fret to get a clean tone. You can't just plunk your fingers down anywhere in the gap between one fret and the next, or could won't have a sharp enough angle to pressure the string into the fret firmly. Not that you need to push particularly firmly, just a nice solid push close enough to the fret.
also, someone just posted this: http://anchorage.craigslist.org/msg/2496101790.html -is this a reasonable price for a Moog theremin? I kind of feel like I need one of those in my life. At this point I'm having a hard time choosing between a theremin and a concertina.
Not a theremin guy, so all I can really tell you (unless a theremin guy drops in) is to compare that to other retail and used prices of the same model and figure out whether the money you might save is worth buying on short notice.
If you were to get a concertina, what type are you thinking: Anglo, English, or Duet? Again, if your budget is anything under $1000, Concertina Connection is pretty much the go-to choice.
|# ¿ Jul 16, 2011 05:17|
By the way, what make is your dulcimer?
radium's grandmother posted:
What I'm really wanting to play is the bandoneon (I got to play Cuatro Estaciones Porteñas in a string ensemble and I fell in love with Piazzolla's music), but I know that's way out of my price range right now, since I'm not really prepared to pay $2000+. I'm thinking that a duet concertina might be the next best thing for tango, since (I think?) it's chromatic, but frankly I'm kinda guessing.
There are a few different ways you can go so far as not-bandoneon-bandoneones. I won't venture too-too far into trying to give advice on that particular topic, but speaking broadly there are a few instruments which are not bandoneon, but might have some skill crossover:
- Anglo concertina: like bandoneon is bi-sonoric. That is, when you change bellows direction it changes notes. However, unlike bandoneon it doesn't have so many extra buttons to provide chromatics and alternate notes (as in pushing button #8 gives you a D, but so does pulling button #12, so you can find a D in either direction).
- Duet concertina: unisonoric, so bellows changes don't make a difference, but the $375 Concertina Connection model can play comfortably in C, D or G
- Hybrid bandoneon: these are bandoneon-style instruments, but rather than having the bisonoric keyboard they have keys based on the CBA (chromatic button accordion). I think I cover these a few pages back in a response to chinstrap. Nice ones are pricey, but imports are around $900, but they occasionally come up used cheaper.
- Chemnitzer concertina: the chemnitzer is conceptually about the same as a bandoneon, but the key layout developed in a slightly different direction so the fingerings aren't exactly the same. Fortunately, they're less hip that bandoneons, so they can be a fair bit cheaper. I picked up a Morbidoni chemnitzer for like $400 on eBay, and if you ask around on Concertina Forum they might be able to help you find a good deal.
Not to get too redundant, but a few pages back I discussed pretty much these same models (including pics and video clips) with Chinstrap (who ended up getting a CC Duet concertina). If tango is definitely your thing though, I'd post at Concertina Forum asking the consensus as to whether there's a good less-expensive transition instrument to learn and later switch to bandoneon. Alternately, some big hobbyist with tons of boxes on CF might have an extra inexpensive/small bandoneon that they'd sell affordably to a noob. Personally I have a Hyrbid Bandoneon to unload, so I should get around to posting that on CF.
Various ways to go about it, and overall you really can't go wrong learning any of the above in general and later getting a bandoneon, but some of the above may be more or less good in the short term for trying tango stylings on; definitely ask at CF.
- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mdBd...feature=related bandoneon and guitar duet
|# ¿ Jul 16, 2011 06:07|
radium's grandmother posted:
The stamp inside says "Here, Inc.", and the lady I bought it from said that she bought it around 30 years ago in Minnesota. Thank you for all of the concertina/bandoneon information, by the way, you've given me a really good starting point (and gotten me a bit more optimistic).
Ah, that name sounded familiar, so I dug into it, and they're that one Minnesota outfit that merged with Hobgoblin or something in recent years. The company goes back to the 1960s or so, so a make popular with some hippies. Hobgoblin, a British shop that bought them out, is actually worth a visit for those UK goons: Birmingham, Bristol, Canterbury, Crawley, Leeds, London, Manchester, Milton Keynes, Wadebridge. For US goons, Minneapolis and Redwing. Same caveats as anywhere though: make sure you read up before any purchase, as even established stores carry some percentage of junk. For goons in Seattle, vist the Lark in the Morning store (though LiM carries way to much shoddy stuff, so choose carefully), and definitely go to Seattle's Dusty Strings music store, which is far pickier about carrying quality gear than any of the other shops.
So, another instrument. This is for those who kind of want to play fiddle, but want something a little more exotic, but yet still something that can play Western music easily, but something not too expensive or bulky:
The gadulka is a bowed instrument, not played off the shoulder like a Western violin, but off the lap or knee, or tucked into a belt or strap if standing. It's part of a larger family of "knee fiddles" throughout the world, which probably used to outnumber shoulder-played instruments. Even today, there are musicians in Iran, India, and other such places that play modern Western violins, but standing upright in the lap since that's what the region is used to.
Though it looks complicated with a ton of strings, it actually only has three strings that you finger; the other (5, 7, 10) strings are sympathetic strings. That is, strings that are not actually touched, but that start vibrating simply because the environment around them is vibrating, so they provide a sort of hum/glow echoing in the background as you play. The fingering is different from Western violin: rather than push the strings down to a fingerboard (there is none), you can either place the fingertips on the string, or else slide the backs of your fingernails onto the string. It is a bit counter-intuitive for Western violinists, but they need to stop bitching about "wow, it's so hard" because it's not any harder than violin (and arguably quite easier), they're just unwilling to admit there are other ways to do things. Hide-bound dicks.
So far as learning one: if you want to learn actual Bulgarian music and technique you have a separate issue to address, which is probably going to involve just listening to a lot of that music until it sinks into your skull. That aside, not a terribly complex instrument, just a matter of practice to get the fingering style down, be able to find your notes by feel, etc. The site Cool Music Instrument recommends The Gadulka Books, but it's a bit pricey of a book, so unless you're really trying to learn the specifically Bulgarian genre I'd consider in optional. Personally, I think it would sound great in a wide variety of genres, as it's a slightly quirky-sounding fiddle that can easily do awesome sliding effects.
The great news is that the instruments themselves, even decent ones, are quite inexpensive. There are some $10 cheapies that are just wall-hangers, but you can buy serious ones for less than $70. So far as sellers, I'd lean to Bulgariana. Their shipping isn't bad even to the US, and they have gadulkas by actual named makers starting at €44. When ordering, make sure to get a tuning wrench from the site (it makes it a ton easier to grab all those little pegs) and a bow (though most of the listings specify that they include one), maybe a few spare strings at €1 each. While you're paying shipping anyway, the site has some cool inexpensive stuff, including bottles of Bulgarian liquor for €2 (if having alcohol isn't going to add Customs hassles going to your country).
- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wHz5...n_order&list=UL Kind of amateur, but nice slow clip that shows the instrument outside of rapid-fire Bulgarian dance tunes. His technique is a little rough, so just bear that in mind.
- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d0qJC0J8M_A A more pro clip that's no too crazy fast
- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qpQ-...5550140589BF066 Great player, but cheesy Slavic music video
- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NfAB-7wkfgw Iron Maiden (excellent) on gadulka
- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MNULnAlzJdQ Filthy hippies play gadulka, djembe and didj
I'm getting a sinking feeling that I may be stuck getting one of these, as the price is just eminently reasonable, and it's both freaky and yet versatile. And so affordable. Dammit.
TapTheForwardAssist fucked around with this message at Jul 16, 2011 around 17:16
|# ¿ Jul 16, 2011 17:01|
He's exaggerating the retail price a bit, I got mine at a store for $350 with a slight discount. Nevertheless, if it's in solid condition that's a good price. The nice thing about theremins is you don't touch them, so they don't suffer much wear and tear.
Thinking more on it, it's quite likely that even in Anchorage you'd be able to re-sell it later for the same price, so it's not so much "money gone forever" as "$250 is tied up until you sell it again." If you don't mind tying up that amount while you dick around with it, sure, no reason not to get it. If it were here, I'd probably buy it, dick around a couple months, and then sell it unless it really grabbed a hold of me.
Speaking of electronic instruments, my total Stylophone score is up to 23 purchased, of which 2 sold and 3 gifted.
Hey TTFA, how about a writeup on Cigar Box instruments? My buddy got his start on a cigar box mandolin and it actually sounds really good.
It wouldn't be quite the same as these other posts, because various cigar box instruments have nothing in common learning/playing wise, they just all happen to share materials. So a CB-mando plays like a mando (already covered), CB dulcimer like a dulcimer (and I think we have a pic of a CB dulcimer on pg 2, etc.)
By all means, feel free to post some pics and hold forth on the general concept of building instruments out of cigar boxes, but your perspective is as good as mine there. Though I am finally towards the top of a waitlist for a cigar-box luthier (been on his list a year) to have him build me a mini cigar-box oud.
I got the tab and chords for this from Bing Futch's website, and just kinda made up the uke part as I went along.
Not bad at all, you're definitely making some headway.
So far as things to tweak: your rhythm is a bit stiff, so you'll want to both relax and allow some funk in your junk, and get smoother on your chord changes so you're not rushing to be into place by the proper beat. One excercise I'd suggest to work on this: pick two chords that are pretty easy to transition between, and just establish a rhythm and go back and forth between those chords as you strum. Try all kinds of different things: jig time, some kind of bluesy lope, calypso-ish, maybe a little reggae stutter. Just get comfortable establishing a rhythm and yet smoothly changing chords.
The other thing is, as mentioned with another dulcimer player on the last page: it sounds like sometimes your fingers are too far from the frets, and so your strings are slightly muffled. When practicing your fingerings, try going through it really slow while ensuring that your fingers are almost up to the fret, that they're definitely close enough you get a clear ringing tone.
Glad you dropped in to share! Overall, anyone who's been learning a weird instrument, speak up and let is know how it's working out for you. It'll be yet more good evidence for readers that music really is this accessible.
Okay, I'll make a partial correction to the above statement that cigar-box instruments aren't particularly distinct. Arguably, there is a tradition of 3-string cigar box guitars used for blues, which are arguably a distinct instrument.
3-string cigar box guitar
Okay, I was vaguely familiar with this instrument in the past, though looking around today I note there's an incredibly hardcore niche of devotees on the internet. The span is a little bit obscured by the fact that one man, Shane Speal, happens to be breathlessly sperglording about this instrument across the internet, including registering numerous domains such as cigar-box-guitar-music.blogspot.com, 3-string-guitar.com, cigarboxnation.com, etc. Per his online bio: "Shane Speal is a musician and marketing professional from York, PA. " And how. In fairness, the guys sites aren't too bad, he has at least some original content at each, he appears to have a totally genuine interest in Delta blues and the 3-string, and his recording are actually awfully good.
In fairness, Speal and whatever other people in on this that aren't Speal, have a really valid point that American primitive guitars are rather overlooked in ethnomusicology, that many now-prominent bluesmen played them in their younger days, and that they are quite legit and evocative instruments. I do feel that he's maybe a bit over-selling the concept of it being "a thing" as opposed to a looser evolution of different ideas, but given how little awareness there is of the instrument, and the guy's not exactly a PhD, some over-selling is understandable.
Yep, that's Bo Diddley himself
Cigar box instruments can be found quite inexpensively online, some as low as $60 or so, others in the mid-$100s, and there are a handful of botique artistan $1000+ instruments. And, of course, you could not be a spoiled white middle class rear end in a top hat and just build a drat axe for yourself. Honestly, I'm lazy and would just buy one though. Though Speal does link to some sellers of CBs, he does also note that rural hicks were able to build these in barns with hand-tools, so it's not like this is rocket science. I would suggest that whatever you buy or make, go for a 3-string at first. Building a 6-string will just tempt you to play it like a guitar, so going 3-string will better keep you in the primitive Americana vibe.
There are various free plans online for building CBs, and Speal, ever the marketer, does have a DVD for $20. He also has some instructional DVDs, and makes a point of arguing that if you try to learn Delta blues by "here's how you do a G chord, and then an Em", then you're a punk and doing it wrong, because the Delta blues greats didn't know music theory and did just fine without it. So presumably his DVDs are more traditional folk music learning, watching and listening to somebody else do it over and over again until it sinks in. Again, guy makes a totally valid point.
I did actually have a lot of fun looking at these clips, as I haven't listened to any Delta blues in a while:
- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wz5wMGovkuQ an intro/promotional by Speal's buddy John McNair: What's a 3 string Cigar Box Guitar? It can take your playing back to the roots of early Delta Blues
- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-cHK...feature=related Some slide blues by someone who is neither Speal nor McNair
- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dM5RchVyihc Acoustic 3-string cover of Richard Marx
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x6vp...feature=related Dude in Capetown playing an electric 6-string oil-can guitar
If you can put up with endless sperglording and marketing, this is actually a pretty fun topic to read up on. Given the affordability and relative ease of learning the instrument, and how it well-addresses a niche other than the generally folk-ish/world-ish instruments we've covered mainly in the thread, this actually places pretty high on my current list of recommendations. The is also a cigar box forum that's pretty active and helpful and also run by guess-who.
If the following apply to you:
- Want to learn something a little less Irish than much of this thread, wanting something a little more bluesy, early rock, rockabilly, etc.
- Like primitive and dirty sound, like having both acoustic and electric options
- Want something pretty simple yet able to produce licks that sound hardcore
- Are into DIY and want to build something, or else want to buy something that's unique and yet inexpensive vice mass-market instruments
... then I'd say this is worth taking a close look at. I would agree that this is something you're going to want to learn more from listening than anything else, though from a music pedagogy aspect I am quite curious to get Speal's instructional DVD and see how he approaches teaching this while avoiding formal theory. Not that I doubt the feasibility, just that you don't usually see printed/pressed instructionals aiming to replicate traditional learning.
In summary: 3-string CBs are pretty drat cool/gritty/minimalist, Delta blues is a great genre, and Shane Speal is a crazy sperglord but I salute him for his tireless efforts in reviving the tradition.
TapTheForwardAssist fucked around with this message at Jul 17, 2011 around 00:02
|# ¿ Jul 16, 2011 23:03|
Building on the three-string cigar box guitar above, an ever cheaper/easier instrument for anyone interested in Delta blues, DIY, cool-but-cheap, and the like:
First things first, yes, it does appear legendary bluesman Bo Diddley was named after this instrument. Technically, it’s a monochord, and as such yet another variant upon the great-granddaddy of all string instruments, the musical bow.
There are DB-like instruments all over the place (the Nipponese cousin I’ll cover later), but this specific version is, like many of America’s greatest world contributions, associated with poo poo poor areas of the South. This was used as an accompaniment instrument for singing, largely, and is about as simple as driving two nails, a piece of wire (sometimes stripped from an unraveling screen door), and some whiskey bottles. The latter being a sustainable resource in the South. I’ve read accounts of folks turning their back-porch railing into a DB for jamming, or using the whole side of a barn.
There is, fortunately, a goodly online community of folks building, playing, studying, designing, recording, etc. the DB. Again, even more so than the cigar-box, these things were built by illiterate sharecroppers in areas so poverty-stricken that even nails were valuable enough to scrounge, so there’s no earthly reason that you and your debit card, Home Depot, and the almighty power of Google cannot build the DB to end all DBs.
At its very easiest, you pretty much need a piece of board, two nails, two glass bottles (or one bottle and one can), and a piece of metal string or wire. A hammer would be a nice luxury, but anything heavy and hard enough to pound nails will do.
As you can see, a lot of folks like to electrify them, which is totally legit. I haven’t priced out all the parts and I haven’t built anything electric in forever, but I’d venture to guess you could go to a guitar store (not a big-box, an actual local store where they fix guitars and things) and buy some crap out of their junk-parts bin. I’d imagine a soldering iron would be nice, but you might be able to get by with electrical tape (do not sue me, I am not an electrician).
There are a zillion and one demos, plans, blueprints, discussions, etc. of DBs online, so I won’t insult your intelligence by googling them for you. Instead, I’ll just present a few of the awesomer clips I’ve run across:
- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dZNk...feature=related Jack White (of the White Stripes) builds a DB in a matter of minutes with a hammer, and then rocks more severely on it than you would on a $5,000 guitar.
- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L0YWVm6OQEk Yes, that’s one dude with one string doing a highly credible rendition of “Personal Jesus”, a song usually done with a plethora of expensive synthesizers.
- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YKfamQl1YSg Combining with the previous instrument, a cigar-box diddley bow.
- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tcXcpx4-nsk A shed turned into a DB
- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vCvH...feature=related Getting deluxe with a two string diddly bow.
Have you been wanting to learn an instrument, but are just short on cash? Are other instruments just too bewildering with all those knobs and buttons and strings going every which way? Man up, pretend you have the balls of a hardscrabble cotton farmer, and get yourself a board and some nails and one of your many whiskey bottles emptied of dreams. Build it, and then use your unfair advantage of YouTube to expose yourself to more DB than the average 1930s Southerner saw in a month, given they were too busy working their assess off to play every day.
Do this, you have really no excuse.
|# ¿ Jul 18, 2011 12:06|
radium's grandmother posted:
I think I may have found what I'm looking for:
Have you already bid yet? If not, I'd really hold back. If so, then it's going to be a real learning curve either way.
Like withak said, judging condition can be awfully tricky, and in general I would be (and have been) awfully skeptical of any seller of squeezeboxes unless I can either play it in person, or at least hear it played (or just squeezed for each button) over the phone. Failing those, I would generally assume that it's going to need a fair bit of work.
Again, not to delay your enthusiasm, but your odds of ending up happy increase if you do some basic research on this topic which is, to be fair, totally new to you. You can ask at Concertina Forum, Melodeon Forum, or Bandoneon Group (http://launch.groups.yahoo.com/group/bandoneon/), or be shameless and just ask on all three: "Want to learn bandoneon for tango, what are the affordable options"? Do bear in mind that you'll have folks at extremes: some people who'll insist it can't be done under $2000, others who are going to insist you learn violin first or some other weird theory, etc. But over the course of answers you should get a pretty good feel.
It's also not totally impossible someone will have an extra to sell, so instead of buying a pig in a poke, you can get an instrument from a knowledgeable player who can tell you what condition, what's been done, what its drawbacks are, etc. Especially as an utter noob, it is very rare you'll come across your "one in a year deal" on eBay your first week looking at it, so if you're seeing an amazing sudden must-buy deal... it's probably not, and you'll be better off just asking the smart and helpful folks online how to proceed.
Now, if you've already bought it, not the end of the world. Time to start asking pretty much the same questions on the same forums, but prefaced with "I bought an old Lange for $XYZ, now what do I do"?
TapTheForwardAssist fucked around with this message at Jul 19, 2011 around 00:42
|# ¿ Jul 19, 2011 00:21|
radium's grandmother posted:
I did sort of think that ebay bando was too good to be true. I submitted my join request to the Yahoo bandoneon group so I can ask there, thanks for the link.
Yeah, getting to know other players and making an informed decision isn't as sexy as making a blind purchase, but it's probably way, way smarter. Bandoneon is a pretty small community, so folks should be pretty supportive. Definitely a cool instrument though, and given how few folks play it I'd imagine you'll have quite a few opportunities if you get to be a decent tango player.
I wanted to get a little bit back into some of the electronic options out there, particularly as some of them are pretty affordable, and also quite accessible to people who might not have a lot of musical background, but like working with sound.
propellerhead ReBirth app for iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad ($7)
Propellerhead is a Swedish company that, back around 1997 produced a computer program called ReBirth, which was made to be a digital imitation of several analogue Roland synthesisers: TB-303 Bass Line Synthesizer and the TR-808 and TR-909 drum machines. Apparently for anyone involved in electronic music production back in that period, this was a groundbreaking program, and resulted in folks producing tracks and emailing them back and forth across the planet, forming communities, etc. To this day the company still maintains several active forums for its loyal userbase.
In 2010, the whole package was faithfully reproduced for the above Apple products, and techno fans rejoiced. Note that I don't personally play this instrument, but this was the hands-down recommendation from the thread Synthesizers! in NMD:ML. Apparently it's today considered somewhat of a "babby's first mixing program", but a really good place to start learning, and it costs $7. Again, given that you could mix tracks while riding the bus home from work, this seems a sure thing if you own any of the above devices and have even the mildest interest in mixing electronica tracks.
- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zomsMea6KxM A bit of a tutorial-style explanation of the iPad version.
- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4LlHgQQtMhE A demo of the iPhone version; apparently a little less smooth because you can't spin as many knobs simultaneously, and do some scrolling to reach the far edges, but this guy certainly still sounds good
- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wPRS...feature=related Slightly tangential, but an Attack of the Show rundown of iPad music apps
While I'm here, I'll cover another option, this time hardware for folks like me who don't have smartphones, or want something more standalone:
Another item with the enthusiastic support of the goons in NMD:ML. It's a small paperback-sized touchpad-based "dynamic phrase synthesizer", which does both backing beats as well as melody lines. Rather than me listing out the huge number of features, Wikipedia. On a good day, you can get these a little under $100 new.
I have not gotten around to getting one of these yet, but apparently it's a really intuitive settup and easy to start sounding good on.
- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NJWj8HjX9ew Brit YouTube celebrity Brett Domino covers Bad Romance using only a Korg Monotron (basically a nicer Stylophone) and a Kaossilator
- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Njiy8XzX-lM A dude at home playing "folktronica", jamming on Appalachian dulcimer backed up by his Kaossilator. There are actually several good YouTube clips of dulcimer and the KK, which I was really not expecting.
- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u3_yXmIfmYg The Yellow Album - 100% Korg Kaossilator. Yep, a whole album produced on the KK, sample track up on YouTube.
TapTheForwardAssist fucked around with this message at Jul 20, 2011 around 01:32
|# ¿ Jul 20, 2011 01:28|
3 guys, lots of bourbon, making diddley bows in a barn until we pass out or someone calls the cops.
But where are you going to get the bottles to build the... oh, nevermind.
This sounds like an awesome event, and you owe it to posterity to record the highlights thereof. You could become a legend in the online CBG/diddley community. Not that you would be in the slightest the first person to stay up late drinking heavily and building diddley bows, it's just that others don't do that in their actual YouTube videos.
If I manage to land the job I'm interviewing for soon I'm going to see about making a diddley bow with a bass string, I'm curious as to how it would sound.
If you are too poor to build a diddley bow, you need to take a hard look at how you're living your life.
Are you sharecropping cotton somewhere in the Deep South? Boll weevil done et your crop?
This man's ghost is rolling his eyes at you. Look in an alley, find a chunk of pallet wood or something. Scrounge up some nails, some bottles and/or cans, and some sort of wire. There is absolutely no way you can't build one of these (acoustic) for basically free. If you want to splurge you can buy a single guitar string for about $1.50, or beg a broken (since they tend to break at the ends) or spare one off a musician friend. Hell, I would mail you a string for free just to allay your self-pity.
I've always wondered though, having never heard one live, how loud are the dulcimers? It sounds like they might be very loud, which could be a problem since I live with three other people..
??? No, not at all. If anything one of the main complaints about dulcimers is that you can't hear them unamped in a jam session. They can keep up with maybe one steel-string guitar, or one fiddle or banjo, but any more than that and you're going to need amplification. If you can even play uke in your place, you can play dulcimer. They're very rich/full sounding, but low-amplitude.
Angra Mainyu posted:
PRO TIP: Don't drink a bunch and play NAF flute, you'll get it full of spit and sound like rear end.
NAF is more a 420 instrument than a drinking instrument; dry mouth will prevent wetting-out (getting the wood soggy) even longer than usual. Beer goes fine with pennywhistle since you can tap it against the table or your boot and splatter the spit on the floor. Hard liquor mainly goes well with percussion, particularly the less-breakable types. For anything fancier than this, you're going to have to ask TCC.
Edit: What are instruments that would pair well with NAF? I've got the gf interested now that she sees I enjoy it even whilst imbibing.
Good question, and definitely one you could ask on Flute Portal as well, but I definitely do have opinions. I'd say overall what you're looking for (aside from just something that can match your scales) is something that does slow/dark/moody well, has at least some low-end (so not ukulele), and a bit more emphasis on melodic or arpeggio type stuff vice complex chording. I'm also of the opinion that mixing winds sounds kind of odd, so outside of just getting another NAF in the same key (always an option, or even a different key if you want to get tricky), I'd suggest getting either strings or percussion. A few options:
- Dulcimer: inexpensive ($100 or less used if you're cheap), easy to learn, does the whole droning thing well. I had to do a little mental arithmetic to figure out how to tune a dulcimer to match the NAF, but if I or someone else just explain it to you it's easy to do, and you'll eventually understand the "why" and be able to figure out ever more complicated ways to tune it. Clip: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=88y1GKg6hhk , a little soft for my taste, but some nice slow fingerpicking, and gives you the general idea.
- Hammered dulcimer ($250 and up new, could be much cheaper if you're lucky on eBay or CL): for backing NAF, I'd probably use this to play either two-note chords, or arpeggios, or else to a counterpoint harmony, or take turns playing the melody. Not terribly difficult to learn, but a somewhat large instrument. There are small ones for like $150 new but they don't have as much bass. Clip: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7mUDdob-Hew I can't find one of HD and NAF, but here's a girl looping HD, fiddle, flute, and vocals
- Harp (mid-$300s new): I'd do pretty much the same thing with this as with the HD. It'd be a little more mellow and lower in volume, but also not too hard to start out playing. Clip: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6QJR...feature=related Again, kind of hippyish music (hard to avoid with NAF), and this is a much larger harp than the smaller Celtic lap ones I'd suggest starting with, but you get the general idea.
- Various percussion: if she can keep a beat and isn't set on doing melody, you could always get a decent drum. I'd suggest one with a pretty good low/mellow sound. Off the top of my head (and I'm open to rebuttals) I'd go either djembe or ashiko: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xndrRs6wHbQ djembe and flute played by teenagers. Another clip: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W4OE_5hAxz0 says bongos, but I'm pretty sure it's a djembe or maybe ashiko.
Alternately, you could also get a "frame drum", which would be a decent stand-in for a lot of Native drums (beat with a padded stick), but also allow you to do some broad ranges of hand-drumming as well: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PlBsni5_mxc not an NAF, but tribal European overtone flute and frame drum.
A decent djembe (Remo, Meinl, Pearl) can be had under $100, and probably well under if you get used on eBay or CL. If your area is even slightly hippyish, either CL or calling local pawnshops could really work out. Same for ashiko, though they're a bit less common since djembe is pretty much king of hand drums so far as white hippies are concerned. I would almost say bongos would be kind of cool, but can't find any clip of that. For frame drums, good ones can be closer to $30-50. I'd eBay/Google terms like "frame drum", "shaman drum", "buffalo drum" (the last being the closest to some Plains Indians drums, but a little more limited than the standard frame drum. You could also get an Irish bodhran, which can do most things a frame drum can, but you can also apply the totally different Irish technique by just using a cipín/tipper double-headed stick and learning some new skills.
Remo makes shaman-style "buffalo drums" in a variety of synthetic sizes, graphics, etc. for a great price, like $69 even for the big 22". If you get a non-graphic one, I suggest you draw all over it. Sure, it might knock the resale down $20 or so, but it'd be awesome to have it with actual cool decorations. If you do this, get a huge one, like 20" or 22" for max bass.
For overall percussion advice: again, do not buy blind. Don't buy a drum unless the smart people on the internet are saying good things about that make/model. If someone is selling some random drum on eBay with zero name/maker, just "cool Djembe drum!!! L@@K!!!" the only way it's going to be a good buy (even cheap) is if you just happen to be lucky. Stick with good brand names or known makers. As a noob you probably want a synthetic vice natural head for easier maintenance, and don't be afraid to buy used so long as the head isn't dicked up (which is unlikely on a synthetic). Also, I'd go at least 12-14" on an ashiko or djembe, and 14-18"+ on a frame drum: a small drum is not "just the same and a good deal" because you'll be unable to get that bass response you'll really want.
One last percussion option:
- HAPI drum (since they're like $350, and Hang drums are cool but $2k): apparently a pretty popular match-up for NAF, and has the advantage of being pretty easy to play, plus you can get one in the same scale as your NAF (should be something like "A minor pentatonic". Hangs are nice but expensive, so HAPI is a viable alternative. Clip: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_-IA-buOUjM here's a Hang. Found it, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xFjDVTQkZHA , Hapi with NAF.
Couldn't find a pic, so here's a Hang
Those are the main instruments that jump to mind, are affordable, and not to difficult to learn, at least to the level that she'll be able to jam out with you. Maybe let her look over these writeups and clips (and we have longer writeups of most of these earlier in the thread), and let us know if she has any followup questions?
EDIT: Xiahou Dun, do you want to go ahead and cover CBOMs and mandocellos?
TapTheForwardAssist fucked around with this message at Jul 21, 2011 around 03:34
|# ¿ Jul 21, 2011 00:25|
Xiahou Dun posted:
And I don't know about recording the Bonanza. We'll see if we can operate a camera by then. One of my buddies rented a nail-gun and is planning on "making everything that holds still long enough into a diddley bow".
You simply can't say poo poo like that and then not record it. Set it up on a tripod or something and just drunkenly stumble over and turn it on as needed. Drunk people love being filmed, shouldn't be a problem.
No hurry at all on the CBOM/mandocello post, next week would work just as well too, assuming you're functional again by then. I feel truly touched to be playing a small part in this upcoming event.
I'm just an absolute tightwad when I don't have a job, any spending past keeping the car and cell phone running rarely happens due to my paranoia about poo poo happening and not having the cash to cover important things. So projects get put off, gives me time to locate a local music shop anyway.
Again, for an acoustic one you should literally be able to make it for free (as in no money), so since you're jobless and time hangs heavy on your hands...
Anyway, been a bit short on woodwind for a bit, so going to cover one of those before we dive back into strings, keyboards, and electronica.
The term “primitive” is often used to describe woodwind instruments that don’t have keys (the buttons with rods that actuate to cover or open holes rather than using your fingers). It’s a bit of an odd term, given that keyed instruments are a very modern and Western anomaly, but due to Western musical education we’ve come to think of the modern keyed versions as being a “normal” clarinet/oboe/flute, and the old-school ones as some odd subset. In any case, generically speaking “flute” is stuff where you’re blowing onto a blade or edge, “oboe” is anything with a double reed (two pieces of material that clap together when they vibrate), and “clarinet” is anything single-reeded (one piece of material that claps against the instrument body when it vibrates). This little bit is about primitive clarinets, so keyless (or largely so) instruments with a single reed.
These sort of instruments were reasonably common in many parts of Europe (and related instruments elsewhere in the world), and the French term chalumeau is a pretty common term for them. They sound, overall, rather like the modern clarinet, but are generally more compact, less expensive, more hands-on with the fingers directly interfacing, and just generally a cool instrument.
The primary primitive clarinet sold/played in the US these days is an instrument brand-named the Xaphoon. It was developed in the 1970s by a hippie in Hawaii who made them from bamboo, and was meant to be a “pocket saxophone”, though at this level of simplicity a saxophone and clarinet are pretty much the same. They now make Xaphoons out of plastic as well, key of C, two-octave semi-chromatic range, recorder-style fingering, for about $100 in a variety of translucent colours; bamboo ones are only slightly more expensive and come in a bunch of keys. They have a decently informative website with a slow but viable forum.
The other options are generally European; my impression is that it’s mainly the French Early Music dorks that play chalumeau a bit, and the Bretons still use them for folk music (the treujenn-gaol) as do the Catalan. So far as names of makes: Sans (Catalonia, €88, and more modern version called the Clariphone for slightly more), Hanson (British, £34), Hameln (German, $65), and Kunath (German, €92).
You’ll also hear the term “bamboo saxophone” bandied about, but again these are pretty much just chalumeau, but made from a more American hippie-type perspective, though sometimes they are in cool bent shapes in imitation of saxaphones. We can get more into these if folks have specific interests.
- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oLuh6fI_Evc Round Midnight played on a Xaphoon
- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ult73q9akuY Various demos of German clarineau/klarinoh
- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=taEnME5_-Ts legendary mento (early Jamaican) musician Sugar Belly, who invented and built his own bamboo sax
- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dfQSgLeZzhk Appears to be a Hungarian folk trio led by a primitive clarinet
|# ¿ Jul 21, 2011 04:42|
Xiahou Dun posted:
I'll see what I can do.
Is there any chance we can get a Mod Challenge in here to force Exploding Barrel to build a diddley bow using only free scavenged materials, on pain of ban? That way he'd both get a free diddley bow and save .
|# ¿ Jul 21, 2011 04:50|
Well, holy gently caress. My dulcimer arrived in the mail and I spent some time assembling it. It sounds great and it's a helluva lot of fun to play. Great thread, thank you for starting it.
So was it a cardboard dulcimer, or a wooden kit, or just in pieces and needed fixing?
pentatonic pan pipes
Not to zero in on one thing off your huge list, but what make of panpipes have you?
|# ¿ Jul 21, 2011 12:34|
Yet another Appalachian dulcimer success story. Honestly, you really can't ever go wrong with dulcimer.
Since we've gotten in some angle of modern/electronic/electric instruments, I'll bring in another modern innovation which took an obscure guitar technique and made it the basis of an entire instrument.
In the 1970s, guitarist Emmet Chapman was doing a lot of the technique called "fretboard tapping", basically hammering his fingers onto the fretboard of a guitar (no plucking) to get them sounding the fretted notes. He reckoned guitar just wasn't really doing it adequately, so designed an entire instrument around the concept of tapping fingers on the fretboard. What he came up with was a 10-string instrument where a note is produced wherever a finger touches, so kind of combining the concept of a guitar and a keyboard, with the possibility for much more complex harmonies than guitar can manage.
There's a shitload of info about this instrument online, partially because the kind of person who plays it overlaps significantly with the kind of person who likes being on the internet. So I won't go into undue detail here, except to say "read up" and check out their forum: http://www.stickist.com/ .
Actual genuine Sticks (and they're very touchy about the trademark of the term "Stick") are a bit pricey, $2100 for the most basic new models. You see older 10-strings go for $1200-1400 on eBay. However, like many good ideas they've spawned a slew of, depending how you look at it, shameless ripoffs or inspired evolutions. Of these the most famous is the Warr guitar (pictured above, $2800 base models) and the Mobius Megatar ($1600 base models).
The main affordable tapping-instrument is the Touchstyle by Krappy Guitars. Those are $700 new, and my cousin got one for $450 on CL or something. In general if you watch eBay for "chapman stick" you'll get various ripoffs popping up. I'd be leery of ones that you can't trace to a specific known luthier, but sometimes you can get a deal on a 1-off that some guitar maker made on the side for $400 or so.
Before the clips, let me just say that though it is an awesome instrument, I hate about 90% of the online clips for it. It just all sounds like the soundtrack to a lovely 1980s soft-porn film to me. I don't know if it's the musical taste of people that gravitate to these, their interest in MIDI (which I hate), or whether I'm just a dick. When I tried a Stick I thought I sounded ballsier; I actually dropped by Emmet Chapman's house, chatted with him, and tried one of the Sticks at his workshop. No biggie.
- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ozt9am44pKc One of my general measures of any instrument is "can you play Bach on it?" Fortunately, Stick does a surprisingly good imitation of a clavichord, which is the main thing that keeps me interested in someday getting one.
- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OFTupf0Rj8U Using a looping pedal for the bass and playing some (somewhat goofy) hair metal, though its the principle of the thing
- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JfbK...feature=related Some more Bach. drat but I love Bach. And clavichords.
- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pCfQmVuIgVg Since someone was bound to ask, yes, the Chapman Stick was used for the fictional baliset in the film Dune. Here, Patrick Stewart, playing the character Gurney, gets his Stick on.
|# ¿ Jul 22, 2011 02:20|
Not that we're anywhere near to exhausting the list of weird/less common musical instruments, but any chance at a write-up on jaw harps or harmonicas?
Back when/where I was coming up, they called these "jews harp", but that term had been somewhat sidelined as not PC, though nobody is totally clear on why they were called that, which variant of the name came first (jews, juice, jaw, jeu) etc. In any case it's a small frame that's held against the mouth, and a thin tongue (generally of metal in the West, but wood/bamboo in other areas) is plucked over the mouth. By changing the shape of the mouth, you change the resonance from the vibrating bit, and can produce clear notes.
These have the advantage of being quite inexpensive and portable. Pretty restricted to certain genres of folk music, but that's mainly just a matter of usage.
So far as learning how to play: you know how you can flick your finger against your cheek while changing the shape of your mouth? That's exactly how you change notes in a jawharp, so if you can do that you're set. There are a few YouTube clips on best ways to hold different types, but overall it's awfully simple and basically everyone who plays one is entirely self-taught.
So far as getting one, you can get cheap ones for $3 at Cracker Barrel and similar places. The cheapest ones are slim but with kind of a big sharp perpendicular oval on the hand end; it's my impression that these are Austrian-style. Those are the kind you also see sold in the cardboard displays with Snoopy on the front. American-style jawharps tend to be much stockier, louder and deeper (that's the kind I used to rock). And there there are a variety of bamboo and wooden Asian jawharps.
So far as where to get it, you see them scattered about, but given how cheap they are I wouldn't worry buying a random one on eBay or in a shop. EDIT: drat, but there are some expensive 'harps on eBay, so look and drool but scroll to the bottom for the $5 ones. I do have a strong bias for the heavy $20 American ones, but totally understand folks may want to start cheaper. There is a site which has quite a few that's worth digging: http://www.mouthmusic.com . Note also an association, http://www.jewsharpguild.org/ .
- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O34j...feature=related Yeah, Norway is pretty serious about these
- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MnMX...feature=related A player in India showing some trippy techniques
- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wsON2aFu2XI that madman Nadishana with a whole fistful of jawharps
- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V1m1ODyQ8AE A home-made bamboo jawharp, SE Asia style
While we're on the subject, I'll cover a few other instruments that don't produce sound in the same way as the jawharp (lamellophone, vibrating tongue) but do use the same mouth-shaping technique to change the tone.
I have one of these in the house somewhere, couldn't find it, racked my brains to think of the name. In any case, it's like flicking your cheek again, but since it's a tensioned arm, you can use all four fingers to tap it, so it's quite fast and decently loud. They run about $20 online, and I could only find one clip of it on YouTube that semi doesn't suck: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U2RwoePbJgI#t=0m47s
Humantone or Nose flute
Yup, exhale through your nose, air splits on a fipple, shape your mouth for the notes. They're like three for $3, so cheap enough to just give away. This is what the US Patent Office does for us. Clip: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dNu0b7BfkD0
There are actual serious "nose flutes" from Oceania that are normal flutes but played with the nose, but the ones I'm referring to are just little cast pieces of plastic.
Getting a bit more back to serious instruments, at several points thus far we've made mention of the great-grandaddy of string instruments:
Insert here various old-school ethnomusicological tales about how the first hunter, leaning his tired face against his bow, was astonished to hear a note come out of his mouth when he idly plucked his weapon... In any case, ancient instrument, used in cultures throughout the world, and cheap as hell to make (or buy if you're a fancypants). Again, played by shaping the mouth to selectively amplify harmonics.
These were used all over the world, often for ritual or shamanic uses. You see this a little bit in America in old, old Old Time music. There are a few good sellers online, and again you really can't go wrong with one of these.
- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yYeR7c2eUak Nadishana again, playing a Siberian shaman mouthbow ("ghost catcher"). This dude is truly impressive, so if you dig this watch all his videos of weird instruments.
- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LNpz...feature=related a band jamming with a bowed mouth bow
- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LXkM...=1&feature=fvwp Fuckin'-A: famous Native American folksinger Buffy Sainte-Marie plays a mouthbow on Sesame Street (here's her again on Pete Seeger's old TV show)
I do keep meaning to pay $25 or whatever and get a really nice mouthbow with a tuning key. Out of all this instruments in this section, I like mouthbow best, though it's by far the least portable.
TapTheForwardAssist fucked around with this message at Jul 25, 2011 around 06:38
|# ¿ Jul 23, 2011 00:57|
Handmade by Tasmanian hippie, bought at Salamanca Market - probably inspired by seeing http://www.araucolibre.com/ play there. I could have stood and watched these guys play for hours but my family wanted to shop and dragged me off.
Groovy, I'll look to do a panpipe post later on in the week; just have to check into one or two suppliers.
One small update on the NAF issue: at a recent jam session I ran across a rather eccentric young dude who had a bunch of wind instruments, including a very simple plastic Native American Flute. I managed to get the name and look them up, and check them against Flute Portal, and ended up getting two shipped to me for $50 total.
The brand is "Sounds We Make" and they're basically just a piece of ABS plastic with finger-holes, a chamber plug, and a very ingenious fetish-block in the form of just a clip-on cast plastic piece. That minimalist fetish functions just fine, cuts out a lot of cost, and is easily adjustable and removable. Overall quite pleased with the sound and intonation; it's a bit on the soft side, but for a home practice piece it seems to work great.
Do note: the maker originally made these in a new modified fingering system, and those are the model that the Sam Ash company distributes online. If you want one in standard modern NAF fingering, just email the maker directly with your request.
I've been using mine as my knock-around piece, one I carry with me when out on errands, nipping down to the local bar, etc. That way I don't need to worry about it getting knocked around, falling off tables, etc. I have been stopped several time by bar staff who want to make sure it's not a length of lead pipe or something, though it is entertaining to be asked "excuse me sir, is that a flute?"
I'd still get a nicer traditional wood one if price and durability aren't your key considerations, but these definitely are great knockaround or starter flutes.
|# ¿ Jul 25, 2011 12:05|
Edit: ended up getting an autoharp. Pics to follow.
Groovy, fun instruments! Glad you're already talking fingerpicking; not that these sound bad strummed, but it's the picking where you really get some cool and distinctive effects.
I've been reading this book recently:
Note that it's not at all a "how to play" manual, it's a book on tweaking them for best sound/handling, converting to different settups, etc. Beware: these things are highly customisable and it's pretty rare that serious hobbyists leave them in stock condition, so if you get this $20 book there's a danger you'll be posting here next month saying "yeah, I just re-felted last week to a C/F pentatonic settup, added a 37th string, and lowered my bar action."
Got my Xaphoon in the mail today. Woodwinds are hard! I think I'll have to go walk down in the woods and honk the poo poo out of this thing to learn proper mouth control. Don't want to the neighbors to think I'm raping goats up here.
Definitely a danger. Do you have any reeded woodwind experience? If no, you might see if any of your friends who play clarinet or saxophone can help you tweak your technique. Good call on the xaphoon, neat little things. What colour did you get?
Just wanna say a huge thanks to the OP for this thread - I just bought 2 tin whistles - and largely because of the ukulele thread, I have been playing ukulele for around 2 years (2 years officially in August). I also bought a bunch of guitars and a couple banjos and really music has given me new ways to be social, expressive, and most of all, happy.
All goon snarkiness aside, this is really awesome to hear. I've learned some pretty cool stuff on SA, so it's great to hear that other goons have learned stuff that has actually made their lives better.
Rough day at work, trying to get my car sold before the registration expires, and prepping to go next week to Burlington for the Vermont Piper's Gathering: North America's most comprehensive alternative bagpipe event. For context, alt-pipes are anything other than the Great Highland Bagpipe, and arguably the uilleann pipe. I'll look to take a bunch of pics and do a nice post in this thread about all the crazy bagpipes there. In the meantime, a short piece on a simple trad instrument, and also DIY candidate:
Yes, the pervy comic strip from that *gams!* guy stole its name from this otherwise totally respectable Welsh instrument. This is the Welsh version of a pretty consistent class of hornpipes found across much of Europe and down into parts of Asia. It's a simple cylindrical bore pipe with a single reed and six fingerholes and a thumbhole, so actually not too unlike the primitive clarinets covered last week. These are limited in range to an octave, but the repertoire is based around that anyway.
This is what a primitive single-reed looks like: literally a piece of reed/cane with a vibrating tongue cut into it on three sides
So far as makers, John "Glenydd" and John Tose build them, and a couple years back someone mentioned Gafin Morgan was working on an inexpensive plastic one (there's a pic of him playing such a cheapie on Wikipedia). I've had trouble finding these guys in the past on Google, so if you need to get ahold of them, I'd go through Kilbride or ask on Chiffboard if anyone there knows their phone# or emails. See here for pics of various makers' wares.
Speaking of Kilbride, he has an awesome blog on making your own: http://www.pibgyrn.com/ Hasn't been updated in a while, but it's good basic data. I actually had cut down a goodly amount of elder branches (the recommended wood) when I lived in Seattle as a teenager, but never got motivated enough to turn it into pipes.
Note also that, though the historical attestation behind this is awfully patchy, there are folks who stick a pibgyrn into a bag, add a drone, and make a "Welsh bagpipe". Historical or a-, it's still a cool sounding instrument.
- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pj6YesxUNjo Some basic solo pibgorn
- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WJsh...feature=related Welsh band Calan with a pibgornist on the mic
- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ANs-mwQ9CsE Welsh bagpipes, with some heavy drums and indie filmage; in general, there are some great YT clips that come up under "welsh bagipe" search
- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jJt9MHt0TJo Pibgorn's cousin, the Basque alboka. A cool double-hornpipe
I'm getting a few more instruments lined up for posts; anyone have any requests in what direction to lean, or pieces you've been wanting to see but haven't yet? I also have a couple more goons I'm hitting up for electronica and synth instruments to balance all this folkstuff I bring in.
|# ¿ Jul 27, 2011 04:06|
Given the above autoharp success, I'll cover a related instrument, which should appeal to both our otakus and our bangraphiles:
Taishōgoto (大正琴), Japanese Banjo, Bulbul Tarang, Benju
Or, "what if a zither made sweet, sweet love to a typewriter?"
Again, a long story I'll make short (there's a great journal-style article I'm summarising), a Japanese musician was sent out by his government around 1900ish to go study Western music. While out and about, he saw the various "gizmo harps" that people were desperately patenting and trying to sell, and of which the autoharp is one of the only survivors because most of the others were just silly. On returning to Japan, he created an odd sort of dulcimer with a bunch of typewriter keys and named it after then-emperor Taisho (koto meaning "zither").
These were apparently crazy popular at the time, studied in school, etc. And somehow the instrument got exported to India, where as early as the 1930s-1940s or so it was being used for Indian film soundtracks, which is actually a huge and serious genre over there. Around the same time, it ended up in Baluchistan and gained ground, but blown up to massive proportions and with added drones.
I've owned I think at least two Indian ones, and one or two Japanese ones, and all of them I got dirt cheap and sold dirt cheap in the 1990s, since nobody knew much about them. Then again, I really haven't seen any of these just sitting at a pawnshop in years. I'm sure in Japan they're all over the drat place, since when I click around Japanese music store sites they have whole sections with dozens of models (check this, and this). The Japanese ones pop up on eBay pretty cheap (search keyword "taisho*"), but with like $70 shipping from Japan. New ones in Japan seem to run $400-600 for the higher-quality ones, though I don't doubt you can find plywood beaters cheap. The Indian ones go a slow at $60 new from wholesalers on eBay, and a vintage one might be even cheaper. Probably the cheapest would be from an eBay seller who has no idea what it is, so if you're good at guessing keywords, or just following the "Zither" section for a few weeks, you might luck out.
- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CVhygJskXcs Some very trippy playing on a Suzuki taisokoto
- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rxC3uF2vIms Impressive improvisation, makes this sound quite like an old-school koto
- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XvpCE8JhliM Old virtuoso shows how be backed early Bollywood films
Rather odd instrument, but an interesting way to access Japanese or Indian music by-the-numbers, and unlikely you'll have much competition unless you live in either of those parts of the world.
|# ¿ Jul 27, 2011 23:01|
Nope, no reed experience at all. To quote clarinetist Ferris Bueller, "Never had one lesson!"
Indeed, good attitude. I would particularly recommend: choose one note, and work at it, just a couple minutes at a stretch, several times a day, all week, just to get one clean note and hold it. Don't try anything fancy, don't wiggle your fingers around, just seat your fingers properly covering the holes and experiment with your breath until you can get a note and hold it.
Again, an hour of practice broken into 3-minute chunks three times a day for a week beats an hour of honking once a week, so don't be afraid to set it down and pick it up in a few hours.
I'd also recommend you drop into the Xaphoon forum to say hello and get some noob tips; it's not terribly active, but they'd probably enjoy having someone new say hello.
I'll go and cover another wind instrument, since I have one of these coming in the mail:
Panpipes, or panflutes - or "quills" in the Old Deep South
First off, this is another one of those instruments where, gosh darn it, I learned some new things while reading up on this topic, so I'll get to that shortly. The panpipes is an extremely simple instrument spread all over the world. It's pretty much just an array of tubes (bamboo, cane, whatever) cut to various lengths to change their pitch, and blown across like a beer bottle. Modern folks probably mostly associate these with Romania, Ancient Greece, and the Andes mountains. In all honesty, I also associate them with crystal-wearing New Agers and with crappy Muzak, but that's not really a slam on the instrument itself.
You can't really discuss panpipes without mentioning Zamfir. Dude was a Romanian musician discovered by a Swiss researcher, and brought West in the 1970s to do a film soundtrack. The man went on to do a lot more film soundtracks, such as Picnic at Hanging Rock, Once Upon a Time in America, Karate Kid and most recently Kill Bill. He's sold like 4 million albums and brought the instrument a lot of visibility, but also gave it kind of a kitschy vibe it doesn't really rate.
On the grittier side, and this was really new to me, panpipes or "quills" as they were called were also a traditional African American instrument, that survived just long enough for some of the earlier recorded blues players to still be playing them. Yes, blues on panpipes. Not kidding, you'll see in the clips, and really good article here. The most famous quills player recorded was probably Henry Thomas, who you'll instantly recognise in the clips because his songs have been covered, among others by Canned Heat, though they dicked it up and used a flute for "Goin' Upcountry" where the quills solo was on the original. Like the fife, the panpipes is either dead or nearly so, so it's sad to see a traditional American genre fade out.
So far as buying panpipes, if you want something really higher-end Panflute Jedi (a great resource overall) has a page on recommended quality 'pipes. If you want to go under $100, Aulos (also marketed as Rhythm Band in the US) sells as low as $89 or lower for a synthetic set and are widely recommended. If you're tighter on cash, Groth sells synthetic panpipes as low as $27 for a 10-hole, and the Hall glass (pyrex) pipes for $50. If you want maple (the most popular wood) for not too expensive, Brad White at Pan-flute.com has starter sets with all the gear and instructional materials for $99, and has a pentatonic scale ("no wrong notes", same as Native American flute) option for $65.
Before anyone asks about the Andean cane ones: I would just hold off on those until you know how to play well. The cane seem a bit harder to play, and also you have to know what you're buying to tell the difference between a wall hanger and a good one, so I'd stick to more known-quantities at first.
Do note though, these are also not hard to build, so by all means google yourself up some plans, get some PVC, and go to town.
- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K-Vn...feature=related Dom Flemmons of the Carolina Chocolate Drops covers an old Henry Thomas tune, with a panflute on a neck-holder. CCD is an awesome band, does all old-school African American string-band music. So yes, they can get away with calling the fiddle tune "Colored Aristocracy", not to mention all the other otherwise unmentionable old song titles; you can guess what the tune "Shave a Dead Man" used to be called.
- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Qo9R5kDZWY Here's the original version of the Thomas tune that got covered at Woodstock.
- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zcUUhK-pF_8 Can you play Bach on it? Survey says yes.
- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DC-qVU58Nk4 Kill Bill just woudln't have been the same without Zamfir.
|# ¿ Jul 29, 2011 00:40|
I'm going to reach a bit and cover an instrument that probably not many goons are going to dash out and buy this week, but it's a drat awesome instrument and worth keeping in the back of your head. Also I'm not buying one anytime soon because I move too much, so I'm not concerned about driving up prices by bringing it more attention.
There were various kinds of early acoustic keyboards, basically all of which but the piano have been largely killed off by competitors. Virginal, clavichord, harpsichord, spinnet, clavier, claviharp, etc. A whole variety of ways to strike a key and act upon a string. I'm particularly fond of the clavichord (invented in the 14th C.) where the keys swing little blades into the strings. Not a lot of sustain, but really neat tone.
Clavichord had been going downhill for a few centuries, when in 1968 Hohner inexplicably started producing electric clavichords, giving up 14 years later. They apparently intended it originally for classical music, but the main way the instrument got visibility was through jazz music, with Stevie Wonder himself playing the instrument in concerts.
They haven't made the instrument since 1982, but they turn up decently commonly on eBay and whatnot, and there's a cottage industry of upgrading and refurbishing them, particularly at, unsurprisingly, Clavinet.com. The instruments go around a grandish, depending on condition, so still much less expensive than most acoustic clavichords.
Old-school acoustic clavichord
- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tq_kGC0cXbg Hohner's original advert album, showing what the company expected people would be using their product for
- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t6yEdv6qymc Stevie Wonder showing how the clavinet actually got used
- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uDLD6XxuVBMM amateur Claviduck jamming on clavinet
with a wah pedal
- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sEDZHQXdM_gVk Bach on an acoustic clavichord
TapTheForwardAssist fucked around with this message at Aug 1, 2011 around 02:26
|# ¿ Jul 31, 2011 16:16|
Not a learning recommendation since I doubt any of us can easily find a working one, but the dolceola is the awesome lovechild between a clavichord and an autoharp:
One of many weird fretless zithers of that area, and found a very, very small popular niche in early recordings of gospel singers.
- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zg0KI7m2_ic some old-school gospel
- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bt0n...feature=related Blues tune
If anyone else has a dork-on for restoration projects, this guy's blog about totally refurbishing a dolceola is worth seeing: http://www.fretlesszithers.com/ss/dolc/index.html
Anyone else have a sanshin?
Dammit, there was just a kid who posted a new thread in A/T asking about shamisen, I directed him to this thread, and a mod closed his. But I haven't seen him pop back up.
Would you be inclined to do a post about that instrument?
And someone still needs to do a post on CBOMs and mando-cellos.
|# ¿ Aug 2, 2011 02:59|
Planet X posted:
Does anyone play the melodica?
I've messed with one in the past, owned I think an alto Hohner, and my uncle played one for a bit. Anything in particular you want to know?
The melodica was invented from whole-cloth by Hohner back in the 1960s. It's a slightly novel variant on an overall popular and varied family of "free reeds"; essentially a small piano accordion keyboard but with a mouthpiece to blow air rather than a bellows. These are mainly popular with softer indie bands, and make occasional appearances in reggae and ska (apparently popularised by Rastafarian keyboardist Augustus Pablo).
As you see in the pic, there are two basic kinds (all the ones in the pic are Hohners): the smaller ones tend to be separated buttons (vice a true piano keyboard). This means that they're easier to play two-handed up to your mouth, since both hands can act, but not as commonly played as a two-hand keyboard fed by a tube. The smallest ones are also higher pitched and with less range, but you do save on bulk.
For brands: Hohner is the classic, and I would personally lean towards those. I've heard mixed things about the Schoenhut, and don't know about the Yamaha. You can get used Hohners of various sizes between $19-40, so it's not like these are terribly pricey.
- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c_zJ0lTjQjs Acoustic Asteroids cover with melodica; this is pretty much how they're used in indie bands overall; piano-style melodica but played one-handed from the mouth
- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z0Qw...feature=related Reggae-style vamping on a smaller melodica
- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nVtN...&feature=relmfu Some Bach played two-handed on a flat surface, fed by a mouth tube. In this format, it's very much like playing a regular keyboard.
|# ¿ Aug 3, 2011 05:57|
GJV, did you do the reed-taping mod I mention back on page 6?
The stock toy has two reeds for each note (so four for each button, two push and two pull). Those take up a lot of air, but you can cut that in half by putting some masking tape onto one of the two reeds for each note. The other good thing about that is that if one of your two reeds is more out-of-tune than the other, you can tape the more off one and have just a well-tuned note.
I still need to get around to doing a YouTube tutorial on how to tweak these, but if you pull out the metal pins to open it up it's pretty visible how these things work.
Note also on page 6 I explain how you can either play tabs (as GJV advises) for song melodies/harmonies, but you can also play just chords to back up singing. I can dig around and see if I can find, or if necessary, make a chord-chart for the toy accordion.
|# ¿ Aug 4, 2011 15:02|
Planet X posted:
More curious than anything else. As a big fan of Augustus Pablo...
I always love it when someone takes something that's "not a serious instrument" and just blows away all the haters. Not to sound lazy, but the world has a lot of good guitarists, and it's hard to really "add" much to the world of guitar understanding unless you're just a legend or a mad genius, but if you break out of the mainstream choices, you can really forge some new sounds on overlooked gear.
On vacation at the moment, so don't want to get too deep into doing a new post, but since I'm at the Piper's Gathering in Burlington, VT I'll try to get some good pics and clips of all the kinds of bagpipes while I'm here, and go on a bagpipe bender for the thread next week. We've been kind of holding out on bagpipes thus far. Any Burlington goons: smallpipes concerts this Sat and Sun nights, $15 adults, under 12 free: http://pipersgathering.org/index.shtml .
Three little follow-ups from previous threads:
Both to tie into our Nipponese posts, and also to the diddly-board. It's a 1-string Japanese zither, basically just a plank and some pegs. And, like the diddly-bow, played with a slide, though the Japanese monks apparently had more baller cash and thus used an ivory slide. There are very few living expert players, but a handful of folks are pulling this instrument (which has some ties to Zen musical traditions) back from the brink. Props to the dude running http://www.ichigenkin.com/ for working to get the word out.
- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mi8rn6FIRVE Hakusenso, Summer section, for Ichigenkin 一弦琴
- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rn3uwiv2Hwk SUMA, Ichigenkin 一弦琴 by Minegishi Issui 峯岸一水
Was at Advance Music in Burlington today, and got to try out a 22" Remo Buffalo Drum. It's basically Remo's take on the "shaman drum" or basic frame-drum with rope crossbars. Nice and solid, synthetic head. Beat on it, and drat but this thing puts out a lot of bass for a $60 drum. Tunable would be nice, but at least the synthetic head should be able to deal with all kinds of conditions. Impressed overall.
- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-uP1...feature=related Here's the Remo 16", which is not bad, inexpensive, but not as impressive
- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BitA4_eYQX8 Westerner doing some sort of version of traditional singing with shaman drums. To be blunt, most YT hits for "shaman drum" are going to be about this odd, so fair warning. That's no hit on the drum style itself though
- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jywFbPZ3I4M Huh. Okay. Well, if you want to know how to do divination with a shaman drum, here's how you do it. There absolutely has to be some way to employ this in getting gullible hippie boys or girls to sleep with you.
TapTheForwardAssist fucked around with this message at Aug 5, 2011 around 19:44
|# ¿ Aug 4, 2011 23:13|
In the interest of catching back up on bagpipe options:
This type of bagpipes is one of the more modern members of the family, incorporating a lot of refinements and mechanical doo-dads from the 1800s. It probably started out as something more similar to the Scottish smallpipes (which I'll cover later) which were also small, bellows-blown, mellow-sounding pipes, but then English makers started adding keys to get more range and more chromatics.
The really unusual thing about the NSP is that the chanter (melody pipe) can actually stop playing notes; the chanter has a closed end, so if you cover all the holes it'll go silent. By using a playing style where you only open one whole at a time, and by leaving just a tiny gap between covering that hole and opening the next note, you get a sharp, punctuated "stacatto" style which is distinct to the NSP.
British piper "Inky Adrian"; oddly enough, a very conservative musician and scholar who pushes for a very strict style of playing the NSP
The NSP has generally had a very small but firm niche. I'm trying to recall the numbers off the top of my head, but it's something like: there have probably only been 3,000 NSP sets ever made, about 2,000 current players, and 1,000 of those live within the general Northumberland area the pipes are native to. The instrument has gotten a good grip overall since the 1960s Folk Revival, so holding up pretty well with at least one relatively famous player, Kathryn Tickell. "Famous" here in the sense that "people interested in folk music in general, not just bagpiping, might have heard of her."
For pricing, you'd be looking close to $1000 for the most basic sets, and nicer sets are a few thou. Probably the best way to get a starter set would be to join the Northumbrian pipes mailing list (run from New Hampshire, oddly enough). Most folks outside Northumberland are self-taught, and there is some pretty good curriculum for such folks. If you're in the UK around Northumberland, you're golden, plenty of events and workshops and things. If you're in the US, unless you're in Seattle, Boston, etc. you'll only have a player near you by random chance.
- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MFYyVj6he_g Andy May, one of the modern masters
- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y3-DXrMbKQY Amateur player with a set of three tunes
- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9820S3eSNDM Kathryn Tickell and her Northern English band
- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vxuh...feature=related Yes, you can play Bach on these
EDIT: Not an NSP, but on Dunsire Bagpipe Forums there's a dude selling a set of "kitchen pipes" (small Great Highland pipes that play at a lower pitch and indoor volume) for $275. New they're $328 shipped, and this seller is tossing in a variety of accessories. Trading Post link here. Clip of the same model being played.
TapTheForwardAssist fucked around with this message at Aug 5, 2011 around 21:05
|# ¿ Aug 5, 2011 14:49|
Hey guys, awesome thread.
That looks very much like a "Cooper" brand tinwhistle. I picked one up not 2 months ago at Mount Vernon (George Washington's plantation) outside of Washington DC. The one I had was vaguely playable, and could be improved somewhat by squeezing the soft metal around the fipple to reshape it, test it, squeeze a different way, etc.
Given that an Oak, Walton or Feadog tinwhistle is literally $8 or so, I'd recommend you get one of those whistles (in key of D) as a far better starter. After you learn whistle technique, you may be able to do some moving and squeezing on your Cooper and get it running smooth, but until you have that knowledge you'll be frustrated by your current whistle (and as withak notes, visibly yours looks even more sloppily QC'ed than usual).
I wouldn't spend any extra for a booklet or CD pack with a 'whistle, since there's tons of free tinwhistle material online. Just find a seller who has the best price for a basic good-quality whistle (the article chiff & fipple presents: Guide to Inexpensive Whistles is a little dated, but still accurate), get it, and enjoy the wealth of free online instruction.
BAMBOO FLUTE HAS COME! I ordered the flute in D, hoping to play me some white man music.
Outstanding! Erik has a great rep online, so you should be square.
To both you and the above tinwhistler: it's not at all that we're trying to force folks into playing Irish, but if you have a tinwhistle, or a flute that uses same/similar fingering and is in key of D, there are 100 online English-langauge resources for Irish learning for every 5 of other traditions (Breton, Galician, Swedish, Americana, etc). Even if your goal is to play South Afrikan kwela on tinwhistle, or Bretagne an dro on your bamboo flute, you can't go wrong learning the bare basics of Irish style, and then transition over from there to whatever tradition you prefer. It's just easiest to cut your teeth on Irish with the sheer amount of tutorials free online.
At this bagpiping festival I'm at in Vermont right now, Jerry Freeman had a table set up. Freeman is "the world's only professional pennywhistle tweaker"; the man's (retired, I believe) full-time job is taking Generation whistles, and a set of small files, dremels, etc. and making them more-betterer. I was dubious at first as well, but I payed $35 for his improved version of a $9 Generation F whistle, and it was absolutely worth the money. It just plays far better once it's been hand-modified for best flow. Further, the lowest key Generation makes cheap ($9-14) is the Bb, which is not the most useful key. Freeman takes Gen Bb mouthpieces, puts them on to a piece of hand-drilled copper pipe that's slightly longer, and turns them into A tinwhistles for $44. A is probably the most useful Irish key after D, and the only way to get As is as more expensive whistles, so when I saw today he was making Low As i snatched one up for that price.
Completely setting aside key compatibility with other genres, Bb has been my favourite tinwhistle key, so we'll see if this Low A can take its place in my esteem...
Will reply on the Hayden concertina and the melodica in a day or so, but have to get to bed since been up drinking with bagpipe players, and have a 0930 class Sunday morning on medieval bagpipe polyphony. If anyone here is interested in any kind of unusual bagpipe (anything other than Great Highland), these national gatherings (of which there are several) are loving awesome, so feel free to PM me for details.
One melodica question for Planet X: what make of melodica did you get? Do you have enough chops to do reggae vamps from the get-go, or do you need any advice from the musician goons here?
|# ¿ Aug 7, 2011 05:26|
Today's mah birfday so I think I'll see about ordering a new whistle.
If your budget is Under $15, get any of the whistles I mention above. If your budget is "Under $40", get a Freeman. Although Mrady likes the Susato in that price range, I find the Susato to be too "clean" sounding, too smooth. Either of those, just depends whether you want a slightly grittier, more traditionally Irish sound (Freeman) or a smoother, rounder clean sound (Susato).
Unless you have a very specific reason to get a different key, get Key of D since that's what 95% of online tutorials are pitched at.
I also need help identifying some sort of reed flute that my grandfather gave me a long time ago; I'll post pics and stuff later today.
Ooh, a mystery. That should be fun. I'm gonna go ahead and guess chirimia preemptively, just for kicks.
TapTheForwardAssist fucked around with this message at Aug 7, 2011 around 18:59
|# ¿ Aug 7, 2011 18:57|
Welp, here it is:
Ah, that was my other guess: not actually a reedpipe. What you have there is, broadly speaking, an "fipple flute" or "flagolet". These are pretty generically found simply everywhere, so open guesses as to the story behind yours.
I bought the student Hohner. I should have what I need already to get going at a basic level as I can generally pick stuff up by ear, but will take any advice you have.
Nah, I don't have anything more than the several cool YouTube tutorials tell you. It appears doing short triads on the upbeat is a big part of the sound, so in your shoes I'd probably either puzzle out or else google online the chord progressions for some popular roots-reggae songs, and just practice playing the chord sharply on the upbeat, then start working in some solos. Do you have some guitarist or whatever friends who can hold down the rhythm part and you can accompany?
Speaking of rhythm, I wanted to get another drum in. I emphasise that I don't actually play this, but just did the basic reading up on the subject to figure out the word on the street. I have been meaning to get a set for a while though, as these are one of the more distinctive, yet also affordable and portable, hand drums. Standard caveats apply: don't buy no-names off eBay, or in general any brand that you don't see plentiful good things said about online. Also, don't buy "mini" versions of drums just because they're cute or cheaper; a 5" version of a 10" drum is going to sound nothing like the larger one, so you're going to just be disappointed. Without further ado:
I'm a little sketchy on this history of these, but these are pretty clearly of African origin and wound up in Cuba. Europe was never much for hand-played drums for most of recorded history, whereas West Africa was huge into them. Double drums are less common; I don't think there's any relation, but Europe had a double stick-drum called the naker, and closer to our target Morocco is the double tbilat. But in whatever case by the 1800s double hand-drums of two different sizes/tones were popular with Afro-Cubans.
Fast forward to the early 20th century, as Latin music mixes with American jazz, bringing the bongos to the US and allowing them to be clumsily used by the filthy proto-hipsters known as beatniks. Whiteboy flailing aside, the fundamental of the bongos is a stroke called the martillo so if you get a set and want to do more than just smack on them awkwardly, get onto YouTube and watch some martillo tutorials.
So far as what to buy, the gist I get is that Meinl and Pearl are two reliable brands, and have some very affordable models well under $80. Bongomania is a little out of date, but gives some good general info on what to get, and more importantly what not to get. The guys there also have a major grudge against LP as a soulless corporation that doesn't understand musicians, so interesting opinion to read there.
Most of these bongos have skin heads (still looking to see if there's an affordable, recommended synth-head option), but for folks wanting zero maintenance and also a neat take on the instrument, a few places make bongo cajons. The cajon is just a wooden box you drum on, and by dividing into two uneven halves, they've made bongo versions. Some also add a snare to make a bongo-snare-cajon. Meinl makes both the basic boxes, snare boxes, as well as a pricier ($120ish) wooden version with two distinct heads and a outboard-facing resonator:
- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aNQgO75frw8 For the hardcore, an 8-minute bongo solo
- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-MHiPrVfdgM As a pop-culture reference, an example from The Munsters of the beatnik bongo cliche
- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AhVG8DNCvhA Afro-Cuban jazz with piano and bongo
- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=USmXvuQWLz0 Demo of the Meinl bongo cajon
As an aside, it's also striking how many scores of clips there are on YouTube of girls' racks being played as bongos.
|# ¿ Aug 8, 2011 17:24|
Meinl is an excellent source for all your world percussion needs. My experience with Pearl is limited to regular drum kits but "reliable" seems like a good description of their stuff. Chances are excellent you'd be happy with a purchase from either brand.
Are you a percussionist? We could really use one around here to cover a few of those instruments. Two quick questions: do you know of any decent tunable synth-head bongos, or are pretty much all the decent ones skin head?
I notice that a few decent companies (Meinl, Remo) also make tack-head pre-tuned snyth-head bongos for as low as $25, in roughly appropriate sizes. Are those at all a decent option for folks that just want something to mess around with?
|# ¿ Aug 8, 2011 21:26|
Okay, back from the Piper's Gathering in Vermont, having learned even more things about bagpipes. I'll aim to have a post on Lowland and Border pipes in the next few days.
Chin Strap posted:
Trip report on my Hayden Duet Concertina (the Elise from Concertina Connection). I've had it for about 3 weeks now, and it has been a lot of fun. The first big realization for me was figuring out the logic of the key placement. At first when I got it, the placements of the accidentals seemed arbitrary and random (why is the f# on a lower row than the f?). But when I figured out that it is all designed so that the same pattern gives the same type of chord everywhere on the button set, it made sense. The D major scale is just as simple as shifting the C major fingering over one button. The finger shape that gives you a C major chord is the same for D, F, G, A, and B-flat major. It is pretty genius when you realize it.
This is what is called an isomorphic keyboard, and pretty rare on acoustic instruments. You've already worked out its major advantages. Transposing is really, really easy on a Hayden.
The other main issue I had was it kept feeling hard to hold on to even at the smallest hand strap setting. Last night I cut some holes in the hand straps even farther down, and now it feels a lot more secure and easier to play.
I had this exact same issue, and was going to punch more holes, but on reading more on it turns out that this is (semi) intentional and that you're supposed to "cup" your hands to take up the slack, and de-cup when you need to reach further and need more slack. That's not the obligatory way to play, and there's no harm in punching extra holes if you want a tighter strap, but it's not just that you have little girly hands, people just tend to take up the slack manually.
When playing, should I be keeping the right side still and moving the left side? Or moving the right side and keeping the left side still? Pulling and pushing both sides together feels wrong.
I think I usually hold right still (resting it on my thigh if sitting) since I do my more complicated fingering there, but I don't quite know what's standard. I do know that for the huge 'boxes (bandoneon and Chemnitzer) they put each end on the leg, and spread and close their legs as they play. But whatever works.
Anyway, A++ really really enjoying it, and since my music theory and piano chops are already decent, it hasn't been too hard a switch so far. Sometimes I think I maybe should have gotten a bisonoric concertina just because it is so different from what I'm used to, but the Duet fingering gives me the ability to do accompaniment and melody together better. It is sort of a decent tradeoff between a concertina and accordion.
If you get a chance to mess with a decent bisonoric instrument, they are quite different and interesting. Despite being mechanically almost identical, Anglo, English, and Duet play extremely differently due to their fingering systems. Anglos are really easy to make chords and generally sound good on, and on a 3-row Anglo you can do most of the things you can on a Duet or English by switching rows to find the right pitch/direction, but overall each lends itself to a different style.
The Duet is, as you note, a pretty fair tradeoff between concertina and a larger accordion. I've messed with a variety of systems, and I'm happiest sticking with Duet. I'm actually planning to sell both my CBA bandoneon and my bisonoric Chemniter, the former because CBA just isn't intuitive for me and people keep PMing me wanting to buy it on another forum, and the Chemnitzer because it's a beautifully arcane system, but since I'm not desperately dedicated to it I just don't get around to putting in the time to learn its wacky weirdness.
Chemnitzers are pretty cool though, if anyone needs a good but inexpensive one you can PM me. Again, Sixteen Horsepower made it work for them: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wu_d_tyroMI
My melodica came in the mail today
While those are probably fine in sequence, you don't want to do the two simultaneously, as that stickiness simply can't be good for your reeds. If you have to blow green smoke through an instrument, might I suggest a tinwhistle (easy to clean) or a cheap harmonica that you're not attached to?
Though if anyone does have any feedback as to which instruments they've tried go best with marihuana, that could be interesting feedback. I'm still betting dulcimer must be one of the best string options.
|# ¿ Aug 10, 2011 01:13|
This ties into both the dobro/Hawaiian posts we had back in the first few pages, as well as the more recent diddley-bow posts. Do note that this instrument, though quite uncommon these days, was during the early days of electric guitar about as common an electric as standard 6-strings are today.
Lap steel guitar
The electric lap steel guitar is another variant on the old "jack up a guitar's action and play it with the neck cut off a glass bottle". That acoustic slide-guitar sound had caught on in Hawaii, in enough time to hit the mainstream when Hawaiian culture in general became a big fad in 1920s Mainland America. Enough folks were playing slide guitars in the lap that some of the earliest electric guitars of the 1930s were made in that format, though possibly the fact that such instruments were easier to produce might have factored in.
I'm mostly covering the basic lap steel here, which is generally six-string. Larger versions show up, but if you get much larger you start getting into the "pedal steel guitar" which are good-sized, have metal legs going down to the floor, and a series of pedals that can be used to change the tuning on the fly. I was trying to figure out where they got that odd idea from, and all I can come up with is that classical harps have a similar system of pedals that can change the pitches of various strings to re-tune the whole instrument with just a foot movement.
One great thing is that even with a partial re-awakening of the instrument, there are just so drat many of these out there that prices are pretty low even on vintage gear. Back in the 1990s I recall older folks at my dad's church talking about how they used to play the "Hawaiian guitar" back in the day; this was a totally popular and trendy instrument for some time, something folks just picked up at a local shop and learned from sheet music or played in local garage bands.
So far as buying one, there are a scattering of Asian-made cheapies online for $100ish; Galveston had a good rep for the price, and I think Rogue makes the same model for about the same quality now. That said, there are plenty of vintage ones floating around, and often at the same $100ish mark, so by watching eBay you can find some pretty solid deals on less-famous/rare brands of lap-steel.
There's a good amount of tutorials both online and in print, so I won't insult your google skills. Do note that http://steelguitarforum.com/ is out there, and as always I strongly recommend that anyone looking to take up a weird instrument get in touch with its community of players to get the right advice, particularly as most of the less-common instruments are thrilled to have new folks and will hook you up.
- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Tn-...feature=related Nice basic clip of an amateur playing some old Hank Williams (I) tunes
- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xdTa9MzgF6s Some old-school Hawaiian style
- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2vz_1lC51z0 It takes a pedal steel to do all the instant re-tuning, but yes, you can play Bach on these
|# ¿ Aug 10, 2011 22:16|
I did not know there was Ancient Chinese Rap; I have now learned yet another amazing thing from this thread.
Two quick heads-up: I'm going to re-post the banner ad to snag more noobs, so if anyone has a suggestion as to what musical instruments should be mentioned by ad in the name, and which one or two instruments should be shown on the banner (previous version had a close-up of a concert zither), that'd be cool. I'm tentatively thinking some string instrument, and some electronic instrument.
Speaking of electronic instruments, I have a stack of like 40 Stylophones sitting in my room that I got for dirt-cheap. Give me a day or so to figure out shipping, and I'll be looking to list them on SA Mart for (tentatively) $9 shipped anywhere in the US.
|# ¿ Aug 13, 2011 19:17|
Oh my goodness. The accordion came in the mail and it's fantastic. I've learned Hot cross buns and an israeli folk song and this is amazing
The toy accordion is really not so much a "toy" as "kinda shoddy small accordion but a heck of a buy for $20". Interestingly enough, you could make an argument that in terms of its crudeness it's actually pretty close to the cheap German squeezeboxes that a bunch of early American folk musicians used; Leadbelly himself used to play the "windjammer" back in his younger days.
To summarise things mentioned before: if you really dig the toy accordion just as it is, but want it more in-tune, more efficient of air, and maybe in a different key for whatever genre you want to play, Irish Dancemaster can outfit it with high-quality reeds for about $90. I just got one in D for playing at Irish sessions. Alternately, you can get a 1, 2, or 3 row button accordion, which will play exactly the same but more range and ability to play more "in between notes" and in different keys. There's also the Anglo accordion, which is a somewhat different package but functions about identically. You can get some good used Hohner button accordions for $300-400, and a good student Anglo can be had around the same price. Read up in advance at Meldeon.net or Concertina Forums to make sure you don't get a lovely brand; for quality cheapies I'd stick mainly to Hohner for button accordions, Concertina Connection for concertinas.
Also, if you have an iPhone, TradLessons offers a whole bunch of squeezebox apps; the closest one to your toy accordion would be the Zydacco app, which simulates a 10-key, 1-row accordion.
|# ¿ Aug 19, 2011 05:12|
Has anybody talked about the mandocello yet? I could be persuaded to write a long rambling self indulgent post....
By all means, that'd be awesome. We have another goon who's going to cover cittern/bozouki/octave-mando so you can leave those out and stick to mandocello, which is kind of its own creature outside of the CBOM family as it is.
Do you have any line on semi-affordable mand-cellos, or do those just not exist? I've heard mention of Steve Wishnevsky being decent for $600ish, and Kuhlman having some moderate prices, plus a few folks who've modified guitars to eight-string and strung them as mandocellos, but I'd be curious to hear your take on the market.
Any word on these [cheap Stylophones that will go up on SA Mart) yet?
Thanks for the prod, but I'm in the middle of preparing to move to another neighborhood (Shaw/LeDroit in DC, for anyone local, Ballston is just too brosephy), so the Stylophones might be delayed for another couple weeks, so keep checking back. Again, I have like 40 of the drat things, so I'm not likely to run out, and I'll try and set one aside for you in the very unlikely event they start going fast.
Speaking of electronic music, wanted to follow up on the ReBirth iPhone app that NMD:ML recommended earlier in the thread. I finally got an iPhone, and a few days in got ReBirth.
It looks a bit intimidating at first, and the first few times I messed with it for a minute I was pretty mystified. Once I mucked with it longer, I realised it has four basic elements, and by using the sliders on the right I could turn on or off any of the four elements, and once an element is isolated it's a lot easier to hear what you're changing with a given knob.
I probably need to go read/watch some tutorials to better understand what all the acronyms and technical terms are, but now I'm optimistic that I'll eventually figure it out. This thing is fun as hell, and if you have any interest whatsoever in mixing up electronica, there's really no reason not to blow $7 on this.
I felt slightly cool and slightly silly to be walking through a neighborhood with my earphones on tapping away on a screen, and suddenly pause and start bobbing my head at a different rhythm as I suddenly figured out how to get some more backbeat into it.
TapTheForwardAssist fucked around with this message at Aug 21, 2011 around 21:31
|# ¿ Aug 21, 2011 21:27|
I hadn't heard of the Wishnevsky or Kuhlman rumors, though, so maybe some hope there.
From what I read about Wishnevsky, he makes pretty "primitive but serviceable" instruments. He builds a lot of basses, Hawaiian guitars, etc. but mainly I've looked at him for octave mandos and mandocellos. My impression is that his go for around $400-$500 or so, and occasionally he chucks some ones up on eBay that go a little cheaper than that.
He does do a pretty cool body shape for his mando-family instruments:
|# ¿ Aug 23, 2011 23:51|
I'd never heard of this guy. His instruments are probably more than adequate for anybody who doesn't have plans to be a professional mandocello player
One of his previous octave-mandos went for only $240 on eBay last time, so I might save his name for my searches, pick up some future OM or mando-cello of his for kicks if I can get it cheap.
Helped another goon find a cheapie dulcimer ($48 shipped) this week, so thought I'd reiterate my previous offer. If anyone needs help finding a dulcimer, let me know and I'll help you track down on. If your budget is $50-100 it might take us a couple weeks to find a decent one, unless you're okay doing some minor repairs (which will save some cost too). If your budget is $100-150-200, that's easy, plenty of great used dulcimers in that range.
There are also cardboard dulcimers for <$50, and a couple goons have those and are really pleased with them. In that design, the fingerboard is the only load-bearing part, so there's no problem with the body being heavy varnished cardboard since all it does is hold the resonating air.
If you want to improvise something for a resonating body, you can also just get a plain fingerboard and glue it onto cigar-boxes, pieces of hollow furniture, etc.
You can buy cheap premade fingerboards from any of the cardboard dulcimer makers, thought it's not much cheaper than a full cardboard dulcimer kit, since the cardboard part is only a few bucks. You could also buy some nicer custom fingerboard/heads, as shown in the pics; I don't know off the top of my head who you'd go to for those, but if you ask on EverythingDulcimer.com I'm sure we can find you some makers who can knock them out cheap. And if you have any woodworking skill/gear, you could knock out a basic improvised dulcimer in an afternoon.
Dulcimer is probably the most accessible and quickest "sounding the best at the earliest stage of learning" of string instruments, so not surprised to see it do well in this thread. I'm moving to an artsier part of town in DC at the end of the month, so I hope to finally get in gear and do some dulcimer workshops in some evenings, whether at a pub on a slow night, or at a yoga centre, library meeting space, or whatever, so if you're in DC message me if you're interested in trying out dulcimer once I do some free workshops.
|# ¿ Aug 25, 2011 05:00|
The Stylophone sales thread in SA Mart will go up sometime in the first week of September, and I'll post here when it does.
Moving on to another instrument: for whatever reason I've delayed in putting up this form of bagpipe, though arguably this one is the most suitable for people who just generally "want to play the bagpipe."
Scottish smallpipes (SSP)
First off, to summarise what's been said earlier in the thread: there are many, many kinds of bagpipes. Probably 100+ types from all over Europe, North Africa, and Asia as far east as India. The reason the Scottish Great Highland Bagpipe (GHB) is the most well-known for English-speakers is because the UK military kept its tradition going throughout the 19th and 20th centuries when most other bagpipe traditions were dying out.
The modern SSP is somewhat of a recreation/conglomeration, and offshoot of the GHB. Basically, around 1980 or so some GHB pipers recognised that there used to be smaller cousins of the GHB in Scotland and England, which were softer, indoor volume, etc. So they basically made a smaller GHB, which also used a cylindrical (vice conical) bore and thus was lower-pitched and mellow. To make it more useful still for playing along with an ensemble, they pitched in in A, vice the more obscure Bb of the GHB. Essentially, the SSP is a Scottish bagpipe which instead of being loud and shrieky, is relatively quiet (about as loud as a flute), low and mellow.
If you want to march around in a kilt, or stand on a rocky cliff and play some echoing funeral dirge, you want the GHB. If you want the GHB, don't just go and buy one and teach yourself, find a local marching band or solo teacher, and then let them get you started. GHB is used in very, very specific traditions with tight standards, so you're not any more likely to just "pick one up" and have fun then you are to buy a bassoon from a pawnshop and just jam out at a picnic.
If, however, you want a bagpipe from the Scottish tradition that you can play in your living room without annoying your neighbors, and play the wide span of Scottish fiddle and dance tunes, jam out with guitars, fiddles, and the like, you probably want the SSP. There's generally not much problem to learning SSP on your own, and there are some good instructional materials available. Plus the SSP tradition is loose enough that idiosyncracies are more "character" than "heresy" like with GHB.
So far as buying pipes: SSP can be mouthblown or bellow-blown. Mouthblown tend to have synthetic reeds to avoid your breath mucking them up. Bellows allow you to have cane reeds (purists say it sounds better) without their getting wet, and also allows you to sing/talk while playing. If you're trying to start inexpensively, mouthblown is cheaper and slightly easier to learn on.
Do not buy bagpipes on eBay, or elsewhere online, unless they're specifically labeled as being made by a reputable maker you can google up and see good things about. Yes, you can find good deals on name-brand SSP on eBay, etc., but anything labeled "Great solid-wood Scottish smallpipes! Quality! Best Price! L@@K!" will be made-in-Pakistan trash that's literally unplayable. Not "I can muddle through for six months and get a better set" and more flat-out "waste of money".
A good set of wooden smallpipes with bellows can be had for $800-1000 used, $1000+ new. Worth getting if you have the cash and are serious about learning. If you're shorter on cash, the main three names for good student mouthblown smallpipes are Gibson, Walsh, and Shepherd; these are in the $500-800 new, and you occasionally see the Walshes (in particular) used for $350 or so. If you're looking for a used set, single best place to ask is the Trading Post at the Dunsire Forum; mention your noobness in the thread title and maybe someone will cut you a special deal.
For instructional materials, the Lowland and Border Pipers' Society is the go-to place.
- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x6e5_K6Krsg SSP, bozouki, and Bodhran doing some Breton tunes.
- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nPB8tSdnL6I Classic Scottish tune on the inexpensive Walsh smallpipes
- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MF0Y8UZlvTo Hamish Moore, one of the guys who pretty much invented the modern SSP
|# ¿ Aug 27, 2011 02:04|
Anyone here have any experience with the Musical Saw?
Ah, the "singing saw"; it's the closest thing to being an acoustic theremin.
Does just a melody line, no harmonies, but really pure tone, and infinite pitch options within its range (usually about 2 octaves). Once you have the technique down, musically it's no harder than whistling or humming, you just develop to have an ear for how to solo or back up other players.
There are three companies in the US making saws, around the $50 range just for the instrument, and then a little more for the bow, case, and often a "cheater", a little wooden handle that makes it easier to put pressure on the blade.
If you have a saw laying around, you could try playing it, though overall a purpose-made one would be easier. Do note also, if you don't have a bow and are just experimenting, you can hit the saw blade with a hard dowel or similar to get a note, so bowing isn't the only option, especially if you're just messing with it.
Unless an experienced sawist shows up soon, I'll do a full saw writeup in a few days.
|# ¿ Aug 29, 2011 17:31|
|# ¿ Mar 12, 2014 20:27|
Thanks for the info, most of which I knew from my own research-- however it is also nice to know it is pretty easy to play.
The technique is tricky, but the playing pretty straightforward. What I would suggest (in the abstract) for anyone learning saw is to focus first and foremost on just getting one good, smooth-sounding note. Once you get that down, I'd focus on reliably being able to go from one note to another: since there are no clearly fixed intervals on the saw, you have to develop an ear for what it sounds like to go from, say, an A to a D (one 4th). Not that you necessarily need to know the music theory, you just have to get an ear for intervals.
One great way to learn intervals (and this goes for learning any instrument, but particularly "continuous pitch" instruments where the instrument's scale isn't clearly demarcated into fixed pitches), is to read any of the lists of intervals for the first two notes of songs. This is called "interval recognition" in ear training, and one popular and easy way to learn the intervals is to recognise the differences between the first two notes of popular songs. Wikipedia has a great list of intervals by popular song. It's well worth a read for anyone playing any instrument.
I don't do enough mucking with electronic music apps, but if you or a friend are familiar, it could be great practice to set up a track where it's just several measures of, say, A and then several of D going back and forth, that way you can slowly hold a note, transition to another note, and then back. Later, you can practice playing along with recordings, but rather than try right away to do fast melodic work, you're better off picking songs with only a few chord changes and just playing the keynote of that chord for a measure or two, transition to the next keynote, etc.
If the above sounds overly complicated, it's not, I'm just using slightly technical vocab, but if anyone wants a more layman breakdown of any point above I can clarify.
I'm completely horrible with having patience to practice musical instruments, so I want to try to pick up something easier (and cheaper) and see if I can actually follow through with learning it before I drop a few hundred on something like an accordion.
Saw is cool, but there is going to be some steepness with the initial learning curve, and as noted above you'll have to do some self ear-training on intervals.
Not at all to dissuade you from saw, but if you're looking for an inexpensive/easy starter instrument to later transition to something else (like accordion), tinwhistle has been very popular in this thread, and is overall one of the least-expensive instruments, and a good jumping off instrument. The pitches are clearly tied to the fingering, so less of the nuanced ear work, and there's plenty of instructional materials online.
Out of curiosity, were you just throwing accordion out as an example, or are you considering that instrument down the road? What kind of music are you looking to play eventually? As usual, I do recommend anyone that "vaguely wants to play an accordion" to also consider the concertina. A bit mellower, more compact, and a more distinctive playing style that's not any harder to learn (arguably easier on some levels).
|# ¿ Sep 3, 2011 16:43|